What The Heck Was I thinking?

So, it’s Sunday and I’ve got nothing. It’s time to post weakly and I can’t even muster scurrilous doggerel for your amusement. Then in a serendipitous moment, our dear Carmen and a new reader, Marliesvonn popped in to comment on the title of the blog; “My Door is Ajar”. Well shit fire and save matches as they say in catachresis class.  I can recount the completely boring story of how I first heard the expression. Those of you who are endlessly fascinated by minutia will really dig this, the rest will save it for bedtime reading to stave off insomnia.

Emily Dickinson.

was a hot mess. Edward Dickinson suffered a stroke and died. When the simple funeral was held in the Homestead’s entrance hall, Emily stayed in her room with the door cracked open.  Emily was freaked out about people she cared about dying and it put her in a state of permanent isolation toward the end of her life. Basically, her door was ajar….

She wrote her poetry any old kinda way. She wrote about love in a “take it out deeper” “Don’t. Stop.” melancholy.   Turns out, some of it was brilliant.

“I Cannot Live With You” is one of those poems. It held a mirror up to the vulnerabilities of her life.

I cannot live with You – 
It would be Life – 
And Life is over there – 
Behind the Shelf

The Sexton keeps the Key to – 
Putting up
Our Life – His Porcelain – 
Like a Cup – 

Discarded of the Housewife – 
Quaint – or Broke – 
A newer Sevres pleases – 
Old Ones crack – 

I could not die – with You – 
For One must wait
To shut the Other’s Gaze down – 
You – could not – 

And I – could I stand by
And see You – freeze – 
Without my Right of Frost – 
Death’s privilege?

Nor could I rise – with You – 
Because Your Face
Would put out Jesus’ – 
That New Grace

Glow plain – and foreign
On my homesick Eye – 
Except that You than He
Shone closer by – 

They’d judge Us – How – 
For You – served Heaven – You know,
Or sought to – 
I could not – 

Because You saturated Sight – 
And I had no more Eyes
For sordid excellence
As Paradise

And were You lost, I would be – 
Though My Name
Rang loudest
On the Heavenly fame – 

And were You – saved – 
And I – condemned to be
Where You were not – 
That self – were Hell to Me – 

So We must meet apart – 
You there – I – here – 
With just the Door ajar
That Oceans are – and Prayer – 
And that White Sustenance – 
Despair – 

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12 Responses to What The Heck Was I thinking?

  1. judyt54 says:

    On the right day (and this seems to be one of them) Emily can break my heart, partly because no matter what anyone thinks or surmises or guesses about what all of that means, the only one who knows is Emily. The rest of us have to guess. And for all of that, the last six lines are steak knives with serrated edges.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Steve Ruis says:

    A weak post indeed! The problem was that you wanted a week post and came up with a weak one instead! Everyone knows where that phrase came from! It comes from the schoolyard riddle “When is a door not a door?” Answer: when it is ajar! (Yuck, yuck, yuck …)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Carmen says:

    Steve obviously missed the previous post. .. 🙂
    One word came to mind when reading that poem . . . elusive. That’s all I’ve got at 6:00 a.m. Hope your day is lovely, though!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. judyt54 says:

    Since my husband retired 20 years ago, he has never been busier. Or, I suspect, happier. I hope your feasts are all happy ones.


    • persedeplume says:

      I certainly only do what pleases me rather than slaving away at something I feel is necessary. I did some travelling when my health permitted, and I met some wonderful people along the way.


  5. Argus says:

    My alter-ego (see my Avatar) (boom boom!) is an expert in dog-gerel … whereas I delight in the dreaded haiku. Or any of the great clichés that we had thrust down our gullets at school when too young to understand.

    Emily’s artwork as quoted above delighted Argus but sadly does nothing for me. Am I missing something here?

    Liked by 1 person

    • persedeplume says:

      I love Haiku. I can’t overcome my feelings of inadequacy when I write it. I leave it to those far cleverer than I.
      “Am I missing something here?”
      I don’t know. Poetry is pretty subjective. I understood the poem to be an autobiographical expression of Emily’s experiences around her father’s death. I wouldn’t be overly bothered by not relating to the writing, there’s a lot more good stuff out there to enjoy. Perhaps some Bukowski? 🙂


  6. Argus says:

    Dammit. Until today I’d never heard of a ‘catachresis’ and now I look it up to discover I am one …

    Liked by 2 people

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